We bring our mindset into every area of experience. Your mindset is characterized by your way of thinking about what happens to you and what you can do about it.
For instance, if you feel that your children are responsible for your stressful reactions to their behavior, you are coming from a victim mindset. When you relate to your reactions to your child’s actions as 100% your responsibility, you are demonstrating a personal accountability mindset. The mindset that we demonstrate in our parenting is the mindset that we are teaching to our children.
The Growth Mindset
Underlying the 7 Mindsets is what Dr. Carol Dweck termed: the “Growth Mindset”. The Growth Mindset has to do with the brain’s neuroplasticity – your brain’s unlimited potential for growth, flexibility and learning. With this kind of mindset you look at problems as opportunities to discover the perfect solution. This leads to the discovery of new possibilities leading to growth, learning and higher achievement.
Moreover, in Growth Mindset there really is no such thing as failure. Rather every misstep is a feedback about what works and what does not. work. You find solutions, pick up the pieces or find other alternatives. Winston Churchill defined success as ‘going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.’
It means you never give up.
The opposite of the Growth Mindset is what Dr. Dweck terms the “Fixed Mindset”. This way of thinking relates to results as permanent indicators of what is possible. If you achieve disappointing results with your child, the Fixed Mindset interprets that to mean that you are intrinsically incapable of doing better as a parent, and your child is forever stuck at his/her current level of development.
Any time that you feel like a failure, or relate to your child as a failure you are demonstrating a Fixed Mindset in your parenting.
You Can Leave The Fixed Mindset Behind
I observed the Fixed Mindset in my younger son when he was 8 year old. While we were playing baseball, I pitched him a ball. He swung his bat at it and missed. His reaction was to throw the bat down in frustration and declare, “I just stink at baseball!”
I tried to teach him the Growth Mindset. “Aaron, all you have to do is pay attention to what you are doing while swinging, keep trying, and you are bound to improve.” (I didn’t attempt to explain the fact that as he works on self-improvement his mind will develop new neural pathways that will enable him to swing with greater accuracy and approach all challenge more optimistically.)
You too can grow and develop for improved results in any area that you choose, including parenting, as long as you remember to approach your parenting challenges with a Growth Mindset.
Instead of judging yourself or your child with anger and stress when you are not getting the results you want. You need to remember that there is a better way.
Good parenting is all about right perspective and being fully present.
Focus on tempering your reactivity when your five-year-old spills his milk because he was not paying attention while pouring it. Or allowing your 14-year-old argue on issues which you seriously disagree. You can choose to learn and grow from every experience that you have with your child. Remember you can change. Strive at learning new and effective parenting practices. In this way you access the advantage of the Growth Mindset in your parenting.
Your Opportunity To Grow
The more you practice looking at your interactions with your child as opportunities for “raising yourself”, for self–improvement, the more you grow. Moreover, the better you feel, the better you relate to your child. And it is never too late to change ‘your behavior and attitude.’
No matter how bad your relationship with your child is today, you can always change things for the better. If you can look at the past with discernment and genuine desire to improve the situation, you will see your pathway to improved outcomes.
Instead of feeling hopeless when, your child “doesn’t listen”, a little introspection and lots of love will definitely change the situation.
Try patience, understanding and respect. Perhaps you have been issuing directions and requests while he was focused on something else. Instead try waiting until you make eye contact before you attempt ear contact. The point is that there are infinite number of options to experiment with.
In my parenting seminars I often state, “God sends a challenging child into your life when it is time for you to grow.” Our results and experiences with our children are reflections of how we function. As we focus on “raising ourselves” we find new and better ways to raise our children.
Bob Lancer works with 7 Mindsets, an innovative parenting program for raising positive, successful and happy human being. For information about how to bring the 7 Mindsets into your child’s school curriculum, and to learn more about the 7 Mindsets, visit their website. Alternately, check out Bob on his personal website www.boblancer.com for a complimentary Skype Parenting Coaching session with him.